This thesis investigates the growing influence of chatbots on corporate branding and consumer relations, focusing on the unexplored area of tension between chatbots and branding. Hence the research question of this thesis is: what influence do chatbots have on corporate branding and relations to consumers?
The theoretical foundation of the thesis is based upon theories of branding, relations and trust. Hence the development of the branding field is mapped using Hatch and Schultz’ (2009) three branding waves, as well as Claus Buhl’s (2008) branding strategy 1.0 and 2.0. Based on these branding theories, the thesis defines branding 3.0, which relies on strategic communication, enterprise branding, co-creation, brand equity and image, relations, trust, personalised content and online ethos.
The thesis’ methodological approach is primarily qualitative and secondarily quantitative. Initially a quantitative survey has been conducted on social media to gain a pre-understanding of chatbots. The qualitative dimension focuses on the perspective of companies and consumers. Hence a case study has been conducted based on interviews with companies using chatbots, namely Alka, Saxo and DR Nyheder. This is followed by three group interviews with consumers between the age of 23 and 33, with the objective of gaining an understanding of the consumer’s construction of meaning regarding chatbots.
As a result of the analysis, the thesis concludes, that all three chatbots examined possess an element of branding, since they create both differentiation and possibility of strengthening or weakening the relation to the consumers. The chatbot should be perceived as a brand touchpoint that conducts the communication between company and consumer, hence gaining influence on the brand and image of the company. Furthermore, it is concluded that chatbots have the potential to help companies create trustworthy and strong relations with the consumers. This applies when the chatbot fulfils the expectations of the consumers through adequate, individual and useful answers in accordance with the needs of the individual consumer. The thesis’ main conclusion is that companies’ chatbots possess elements of both brand mediation and relation creation. Hence chatbots can enhance the brand equity of companies, if the companies manage to harvest the full potential of the chatbot.
|Uddannelser||Kommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat|
|Udgivelsesdato||3 sep. 2018|
|Vejledere||Henriette Bernhoff Lungholt|
- online ethos
- strategisk kommunikation